Swimmers Guide: Guildford Spectrum
Used for the SE Region short course meet
The Guildford Spectrum is a fantastic leisure facility comprising of an Ice Rink, Bowling alley a leisure pool with lazy river and slide, a diving pool, a training pool and a 25m competition pool. This is a real family leisure centre, where as long as your pockets are deep the kids can have a great day while you swim (and may even be as tried as you by the end of it!)
The main pool is a deck-level pool ranging from around 6ft diving end to 3ft shallow end. Fast times can be achieved here but I have to offer a warning, because it is deck level pool, white plastic turning boards are used at the ends. These are suppose to be non-slip, but unfortunately, with all the use they've received they're not! For Breaststroke and Fly this can make turning a lottery.
Spectator seating is above the pool-side with swimmers housed in seating along the pool. This seating can get very busy and as with Bracknell you could find you bag moved along a few seats while you're warming up.
There are separate changing areas for the competition pool and the leisure pool. The competition pool has male/female group changing areas. Lockers are £1 refundable, but there are not many to go around so get there early.
There is a cafe area/ Bar/ and Burger King on site. The cafe area is run by Costa coffee and is quite expensive both for drinks and sandwiches even though the quality is good. There can also be a long queue, (you can also buy hot drinks from the bar which could work out quicker.)
Parking: A huge free car park, so there shouldn't be any problems.
The SE Region Masters Short Course
This is a one day meet with all events up to 200m including IM catered for. The standard is high and don't be surprised to see European and World records tumble here.
This is run as a no-cards event so you have to sign in where you buy your programme.
The warm-up is split male/female, with women taking the first and men the second. I'm not sure this is great as with the onset of skin suits it doesn't allow for much time for men changing if you're swimming in an early event.
Also if a female swimmer arrives late she has no choice but to swim in the busy men's warm up. Maybe a separate men's/women's warm-up and then a 10 minute joint maybe the answer like the Etwall event. The heat sheets are posted on the poolside. Unfortunately because of the way the pool is designed there isn't much wall space so have to be posted near the starting blocks which means this area can become quite chaotic no wonder the organiser always seems so focused at this event. (only joking).
Swim down - Yes, The shallow training pool next to the main pool. It's around 17 metres, so long enough.
- Fantastic Facility, you can lose the kids all day.
- Really good standard and well run event.
- Turning blocks could ruin your race.
- Very busy especially near starting blocks.
- Split warm ups (this is a personal thing).